Article by Chuck Hardin.
Mark Bailey is a Lawrenceville, Georgia grappling instructor. He claims prior SEAL service, twenty-seven World Fighting Championship titles, and over five hundred and fifty victories in grappling matches. None of these claims are confirmed, and many are known to be false based upon public records.
Bailey's most prominent claims are in his autobiography, titled My Life's Fight. In it, he describes a childhood of abuse and deprivation, which ended at the age of sixteen when he left home to begin his fighting career1. He began training shooto in Japan at the age of nineteen2. His career in underground fighting continued until some point after his mid-twenties, at which point he began to deal drugs as a way of making more money than he could at fighting3. Eventually he was arrested and convicted of dealing drugs.4 When he finished serving his sentence, he found that he had been stripped of his underground rankings and had to start over.5
He also makes several autobiographical claims on his MySpace page, including one blog entry in which he describes himself as a "Proud Navy Seal" and claims "Doctorates of Martial Arts Philosophy And Martial Arts Science". He never mentions any military service or graduate study in his autobiography, despite the fact that he mentions this book in the same blog entry.
These were exceptional claims, and Chuck Hardin, also known as Bullshido member Cy Q. Faunce, decided to investigate them.
What The Records Show
Mark Daniel Bailey resides in Gwinnett County, Georgia, which makes criminal records available online to the public. Bailey's first recorded offense was in 1980, when he was a codefendant in a criminal case. Since he was born in 1961, he would have been nineteen at the time. According to his autobiography, he had been out of the country between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one6. The court record invalidates this claim, and casts his shootfighting career into doubt.
The claim was impossible in any case. Shooto was not formed until 1985, and it was a sporting organization, not a style of fighting. Even if Bailey trained specifically for shooto events, he could not have started in 1980 or 1981, as he had claimed.
As for Bailey's SEAL claim, Steve Robinson, a former Navy SEAL and an expert in identifying fraudulent claims of military service, has falsified it conclusively. No one named "Mark Bailey" has ever been a Navy SEAL. The National Personnel Records Center confirmed that he had never served in the military.
Bailey's claimed twenty-seven titles in the "World Fighting Championship" are also impossible to verify. The only known organization to use that name is the Mixed Martial Arts World Fighting Championship, which held its first championship match in 2007. At this writing, MMAWFC has held only eight championship tournaments, none of them in Japan. They do not list Bailey as a fighter in their organization.
Since he claims that these fights were underground, it is difficult to falsify the claim entirely. However, why would such an organization keep track of titles, much less take them away when a champion goes to prison? And if they took the titles away, how can he still claim them?
He does not provide enough detail in any of his other claims to check them. In his entire autobiography he never gives a full name for one instructor, one opponent, or one fellow inmate. He does not name the martial arts schools he attended, he never specifies absolute dates for events, and he does not say what seven martial arts he holds black belts in. Even his mother, father, and brothers remain nameless.
Bullshido concludes that his claims are dubious at best, and several of them are provably false.
1 - Bailey, Mark, and Donna Kshir. My Life's Fight. Wheatmark Press, Tucson, Arizona. 2008. pp. 10-11.
2 - Ibid., p. 13.
3 - Ibid., p. 23.
4 - Ibid., pp. 29-30.
5 - Ibid., p. 47.
6 - Ibid., p. 14.